When I was selected into the Microsoft Innovative Educator program, I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to use. I have now had it for 4 weeks and the surface Pro 3 has not disappointed. I have been pulled up a few times of late for trying to use a touch screen on the school pc’s, it has just become second nature to mix up the keyboard, pen and hands on the screen. The Surface Pro 3 has received some outstanding reviews from computer reviewers and educators alike, so I thought I would add my experience using it to the mix.
So, I am in love with the pen. Using it in OneNote to make notes, in PowerPoint/Office mix to write over and complete slides, and even just in pdf viewer to write in some model answers for students to follow on the projector, it is awesome. I did have to lose the habit of clicking it (I have always clicked pens) as I often made screen clippings I didn’t intend to. And another person who is in love the pen is my wee man Ollie. He loves drawing with it and can change colours and thickness all by himself.
The start up time.
A small thing, but an important one. It takes less than 2 seconds from the pro being asleep/off to it being awake and ready to go. Really nice when you get called away to be able to drop straight back easily.
Not sure if it is the surface pro, or just windows 8, but connecting hasn’t been an issue. Any network, proxy etc, it just find it, connects and away we go. And it connects quickly after it has been on standbye/asleep.
I am getting a screen beam soon, but the surface pro easily plugged into the projector via a dongle. The USB port makes connecting gadgets (like a USB temp guage, or my geeky little fan) easy, and the USB port on the power pack means I can also charge my phone. Less cords to carry around or leave behind is always good.
The battery life is not too bad – about 5 hours going full tilt, longer with no keyboard attached and less programs running (ie reading in bed or on the plane). The charger is on the side about 1/3 the way up, so it is a little harder to balance with the charger in. I am considering getting a dock for it, but will give it a bit more time to see if I really need it.
As a tablet
More and more I am just using the surface pro as a tablet. It is easy to read off (the kindle app is good), easy to right on, the onscreen key board is easy to use and has a number grid like a standard keyboard, so easy to key in numbers. It is big but still light weight enough to comfortably hold, and it doesn’t get hot on your lap.
The biggest niggle is that the keyboard can come out of the magnetic locks quite easily, which has resulted in said keyboard tumbling to the floor on a few occasions. Happily the keyboard has proven robust thus far and has not sustained any damage, but it can’t be good for it. The keyboard itself is great – the keys sink in, the mouse track pad is sensitive and actually clicks in, so it is a great keyboard, I just need to be more careful of it.
Another niggle initially was I wasn’t quite sure about when to use apps, and when to use the full blown software. I got the advice to delete the OneNote App so you were always using the software, and this was good advice. I know almost always use the full software of the office suite (powerpoint, word, OneNote etc) and keep apps for fun stuff (like physamajig)
The surface pro 3 is Awesomesauce. It is user friendly, fast and intuitive. I enjoying using it and my students who have had a go do to. The battery lasts well, the pen is amazing, it is fast, light and versatile. The camera is good and the pro is big enough to not be too shaky. I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to picking up some more tips and tricks on how to use it.